New kids on the (hosted) block

MyCustomer.com
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Welcome to the hosted revolution, Sage Group. Nice to see you here at last, although bit disappointed that it's only the MME edition that's being hosted so far, but a journey of a million miles begins with a single foot step and all that.

You join us at an interesting time in the on demand world. Siebel's CRM On Demand product is claimed by Oracle to be one of the jewels in the corporate crown that led to its takeover bid, although the fact that the jewels are big and blue and IBM shaped in the main seems to be something of a potential stumbling block there...

Meanwhile Siebel's CRM OnDemand boss Keith Raffle argues that OnDemand will outstrip Siebel on premise revenues, it's only a question of when. Apparently Tom Siebel agreed with this as well, although he disagreed on the length of time it would take, which might explain the shutting down of Sales.com. This action left Salesforce.com free to grow relatively unchallenged and might be read by some as a major strategic error on Siebel's part...

Now something's stirring in the Redmond camp where the h-word has increasingly been heard. You can already get hosted Microsoft CRM if you go to one of its partners, but it now seems that customers will be able to source it direct from Microsoft from around the middle of next year. More details as and when, but it looks like there's some meat on those bones, which is rather more than we say unfortunately about SAP's hosting intentions. These remain confined to a sort of commitment to do something, they're just not quite sure what. Or when. Or how it will work. Oh well, as I said, a journey of a million miles etc etc etc.

So Sage, welcome once again to an increasingly competitive market. I do think your global rebranding might have been helped further by taking the three brands and bringing them down to one rather than taking the three brands and adding a fourth one on top of them, but hey, arithmetic was never my strong point. And welcome on board Dave Batt - it will be interesting to see what impact this industry veteran has on the fortunes of Sage.

If I might presume to offer one piece of advice to Mr B it would this: Sage has a great installed base in back office and accounting apps. It has some interesting and functionally rich CRM products. Why can't I buy the whole, integrated lot from one person in one place at one time as a single branded offering? NetSuite makes hay from having ERP as well as CRM functionality. You're really missing a trick here.

Click the 'Add your own comment' below to share your thoughts and opinions.

Stuart Lauchlan
News & Analysis Editor
[email protected]

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  • Replies

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    avatar
    27th Oct 2005 14:30

    Whether the solution is hosted or not, any rational CRM user needs to access, and use, as much data about customers (and suppliers) as possible, wherever the data sits. So I agree, Sage has missed a big trick here by not offering an integrated CRM/accounts solution, given its current product portfolio.
    However, even Sage afficionados will admit to a bit of déjà-vu, given the lack of compatibility across various accounting packages that the company has acquired over the years.

    All the better for our CRM solutions, which (a) cover the user spectrum from Act! to Sales Logix and (b) have provided out of the box integration with accounting systems for several years. These include various flavours of Sage, plus offerings from Access Accounting, Iris Exchequer, Pegasus Software and others.

    Ray Redpath
    Marketing Director
    ProspectSoft Ltd.

    Thanks (0)
    avatar
    By Anonymous
    27th Oct 2005 13:23

    I've been using Sage's ACCPACcrm.com product for the last year or two. SageCRM.com is nothing more than a rebranding of ACCPACcrm.com, except that Sage now also hosts UK customers in the UK, rather than in the US. Since ACCPAC were acquired by Sage 18 months there have been no new product versions and most ACCPAC partners have been cut off.

    What gets my goat though is Sage's bewilding strategy. They refuse to let partners host the software like Microsoft do, but take 12 months longer than planned to release SageCRM.com in the UK, and provide absolutely shocking customer service to boot. They're a software company, goodness knows what they think they're doing providing Software-as-a-Service with such awful service.

    And I agree with you Stuart, that they have missed a trick by not re-designing Sage CRM to integrate nicely with hosted Sage accounting and ERP applications. Yesterday, I signed up with NetSuite and I'll be migrating my company onto a single platform over the next couple of months.

    Mind you, Sage have forgotten to invoice me for my second year of ACCPACcrm.com, so perhaps dis-integrated invoicing is a good thing after all!

    All in all: ACT, SalesLogix and Sage CRM are three great products that ought to be world leaders. But they're not. Why: lousy go-to-market strategy, lousy marketing and lousy service. Ho hum. Rant over.

    Thanks (0)
    avatar
    31st Oct 2005 16:23

    We have weathered the transition from being Accpac partners to Sage partners and have not experienced some of the problems expressed by Neil, I'm pleased to say.
    With the release of SageCRM.com we believe that this now offers a true choice to companies of all sizes and readiness for CRM.
    Some just want to get on and start using CRM with a few licences for a particular project without the hassle of a large investment of time or money. Some have had their fingers burnt on bad CRM implementations and want to try a differrent application before they buy - once again a low cost committment before bringing a tried and tested application in-house .
    Others know what they want and decide to role out the application in-house straight away.
    As a solution partner you can offer that choice.

    I would agree that for a hosted application it would be nice to have integration with hosted accounts. I imagine this is something that Sage may do in the future. However I would have to say that in our experience accounts integration at the moment is requested for on-site depolyments mainly with existing systems - as such this is not a problem for Sage CRM MME which has pretty good integration tools.
    I am also not sure if the client is completely ready for hosted accounts yet.
    Although Netsuite is a pretty good complete system it does not give you the option of migrating the system in-house and therefore the client needs to be pretty sure that that is the route they want to take for some time.

    I little bit of good news for Sage....we think they are quite a nice, friendly and professional bunch!

    Thanks (0)